I come from the land of ice and snow (at least for the last couple of days)

Not us. Not even close.

Not us. Not even close.

Just got back from staying overnight in a hotel because the falling branches from icy trees knocked out the power at our house (and all over our town). The weather went from snow to freezing rain to snow to freezing rain again, leaving a lot of ice coating everything. Driving in and out of our subdivision was very slippy-slidey. However, probably the most irritating thing was that the hotel’s ISP also lost power for the entire time we were there, so no Internet for us for about 18 hours. If that’s the most irritating thing, then I think we got pretty lucky. I think they call this “first world problems.”

So what does a person do without Internet. Well, knit, for one thing, until I got to a stitch in the pattern that I didn’t know and, oops, no Internet to go look it up. Then I thought maybe I could work on some writing, but, no, all the documents are on Google docs. You never quite realize how much you depend on connectivity until it’s gone. I contented myself with playing Doctor Who: Legacy (doesn’t require a connection to play), some reading, and watching “The Day of the Doctor.” I’m pretty good at turning any situation into a Doctor Who situation. (The fridge in the room wasn’t cold, and it was too dark to see the thermostat control, so I used my sonic screwdriver to light it up. Really. Worked perfectly.)

I really don’t have much else to say. I hope that if you’re experiencing inclement weather that you’re able to stay inside, nice and safe.

Ignoring the twelfth

Peter Capaldi and Jenna-Louise Jameson

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman

Much of my news feed is taken up nowadays with news about the Twelfth Doctor. I’ve seen articles about what the first episode is going to bring, what hints the showrunners have dropped about the Doctor’s personality, and how Clara is going to deal with this new, markedly different Doctor. I’ve unconsciously decided to ignore all of this stuff; anything that mentions the Twelfth Doctor and the upcoming season, I just skip over and move on.

I’ve written before about how much knowing about a show beforehand can affect your enjoyment of the show and the writers’ expectations of how much of a surprise they can spring on you. The showrunners try to keep things from the audience when they can; obviously, there is no way they can keep the news of the Doctor changing from the media, but they can hide important characters and important plot points. For example, though I haven’t gone back to check, I am pretty sure that when “Utopia” aired, Derek Jacobi was listed in the Radio Times as playing Professor Yana and not the Master. When I watched that episode, I had already been spoiled that Mr. Jacobi was playing the Master, while my husband had no idea, and we had markedly different reactions to the reveal: he was floored and excited that the Master had returned, while I was simply happy, that the Master returned and that my husband got to experience that surge of emotion. I missed out on a huge plot twist, something rare and wonderful and can’t be experienced again.

Thus, I’m trying my best to avoid spoilers of the new season, even just discussions of the characters. Headlines tend to reveal more than I want, and of course, image spoilers are impossible to avoid. I’m just hoping to minimize it all. I watched through all seven seasons of the modern show with minimal spoilers, mostly knowing only when the Doctors were changing – I didn’t even know when the companions were changing – and that’s really the experience I want. I am so looking forward to the new Doctor, and want to travel along with him without any foreknowledge. Only six months to go! (Sigh!)

On rewatching episodes

My husband has been amused at the number of times I rewatched “The Day of the Doctor.” BBC iPlayer downloads last for seven days from the time you first view it, and I watched it at least once every day while I had it. Hmm, I don’t think I watched it twice in a day, but I could be wrong. So, I watched it a total of eight times, counting the theater viewing.

Two Peter Davisons in one episode!

Two Peter Davisons in one episode!

There are actually very few days in which I don’t rewatch some episode of Doctor Who. Unless there’s some new Netflix episode to watch (“Arc of Infinity” tonight, hopefully!), I’ll put on some episode, even if it’s just for background noise while I’m doing something else. If I don’t have the time to watch something, I’ll usually take seven minutes to watch “Time Crash” off of YouTube. Otherwise, the only days in which I’m not rewatching an episode is when we’re watching something else. (Yes, I do watch other things occasionally.)

(Side note: I just remembered that before getting hooked on Doctor Who, I rarely watched anything. My free time was mostly consumed by computer games, which is something I don’t do much anymore. I traded one obsession for another.)

Most of the time, I rewatch favorite episodes, but it’s really important to rewatch all the episodes. First, there are a lot of things that you miss on the first viewing: details you might have forgotten from the early part of the episode, subtle bits of characterization, that kind of thing. The writers also sometimes add in early episodes clues to later episodes, and they aren’t something you’re going to catch the first time around. I discussed one such case in an earlier post, though it may not be a clue so much as a coincidence. One of the greatest things about Doctor Who is that the show is deep and complex, and sometimes you can’t pick that up on one viewing.

I think, though, the most important thing is that on a second viewing, you already know the basic plot and can pay more attention to the rest of the episode, which can greatly alter your opinion of it. When I started this blog, I wrote that I really didn’t like the Eleventh Doctor, though over the course of viewing his episodes, I found that once I understood him, I liked him, but I really didn’t like the writing of his episodes. Well, I’ve been slowly rewatching his episodes, and I’m finding them to be a lot more enjoyable. I found the same thing with the Ninth Doctor: I’ve always said that the writing in the 2005 series wasn’t very strong, but my recent second viewing of the entire set has increased my opinion of them.

So, I encourage you to go back and revisit all the episodes when you can. I guarantee you’ll find something that’s better on the second viewing. My current plan is to rewatch “The Caves of Androzani,” an episode which is often hailed as the best Doctor Who episode ever. Despite being a fan of the Fifth Doctor, this episode in one ear and out the other, and I’m hoping I’ll grok it the next time. The episode that I can’t seem to get myself to rewatch is “Love and Monsters,” because that ending was so bad, it spoiled the rest of it – it had been so fun up to that point. I’ll try to take my own advice about it sometime soon.

Nut loaf is more appropriate

Yesterday was Halloween. And today is not. Yesterday, I went to work dressed as the Fifth Doctor, with my husband, who works at the same company, as the Fourth Doctor. These costumes all started over a year ago, when I decided to make a Fourth Doctor scarf for him, in secret. I would wait for him to go to sleep, then spend about a half an hour or an hour knitting. I can knit about eight rows per hour, so this was taking forever, but I was hoping a year’s time would be enough so that he could be the Fourth Doctor on Halloween. Then, you’d know if you read the “About” page here, that about 2 or 3 months ago, I got hooked on Doctor Who, and soon after that I decided I wanted to make my own costume.  The last couple of months has been a flurry of watching Doctor Who, reading everything I can about it (especially on Tardis Data Core), knitting (it went much faster now that I didn’t have to knit in secret), and creating the Fifth Doctor costume. I’ve even written my own fanfic short story and am working on notes for a longer work, even though I am in no way a writer. And hey, I have a blog which I post to almost every day!

I had a huge amount of fun creating the two costumes, and hopefully I will post a little article on how I created my Fifth Doctor costume, because I learned so much from it. It was my first attempt at cosplay and it came out rather well. A couple of friends helped me with some bits, but the majority of the ideas and work was mine. I loved coming home from work, sitting in front of the TV, and starting to work on whatever the next piece was.

Now, I haven’t really talked about myself in this blog other than how much I love Doctor Who, so let me say a few things. While I like reading, watching some TV, and doing crafts like knitting, painting miniatures, and cross stitch, I have been first and foremost a gamer, both computer and tabletop. I play in D&D and Iron Kingdom role-playing groups. I ran my own 5-year campaign which my players hoped I would turn into novel. And on normal days, during my free time, I play computer games. Guild Wars 2 was my staple since it came out – I have multiple max-level characters – but before that, I had played Asheron’s Call for 13 years.  I also play Civilization and other strategy games, action RPGs like Diablo and Sacred, simulation games and historical games, as well as handheld games like Pokemon, Professor LaytonEtrian OdysseyHarvest Moon, etc. I’ve been playing video and computer games since my parents bought an Atari 2600 when it first came out.

If you compare this last paragraph with the previous paragraph, you might see the issue I am currently having. Doctor Who came into my life and turned it upside down. I’m not playing computer games. Since I started watching the show, I’ve logged into Guild Wars 2 approximately four times. I purchased Pokemon X and have played it for about 10 hours; the last time I turned it on was two weeks ago. I had some time to myself last week and thought maybe I should boot up Civilization V, but I thought, “How boring. I could be doing something – anything – else.”

And this is why I am feeling like a nut loaf.

Before Doctor Who, most of my time was spent gaming in one form or another. I like doing other things, but I usually wouldn’t because my evenings and weekends would be filled with catching up in this game, then doing stuff in that game, then hanging out in this other game, etc. Sometimes I would sit and knit while waiting for something in Guild Wars 2, and this is significant because the game was my primary action, while the knitting was the secondary action. Everything revolved around the games.

Now, after Doctor Who, my brain is completely turned upside-down. With Halloween over and no more work to do be on the Fifth and Fourth Doctor costumes, I don’t know what to do.  I want to start on next year’s costumes (Eleven and Amy Pond, or maybe Clara). I want to write. I want to watch more Doctor Who, maybe read some of the novels. And there are a number of things not related to Doctor Who that I’d like to do. My friend and I are planning a trip to Britain next summer, and I want to work on that. I’d like to take a stab at learning how to score music for concert band. Heck, I could practice my French horn. Oh, and the house needs a good cleaning. There’s a whole lot of things to do, and playing games seems so unimportant, and honestly, uninteresting.

I actually do not know how to deal with this.  Maybe in a week or a month or so, it’ll all go away and I’ll settle back into the same old routine of playing games in the evenings, but for now, I feel almost repulsed by them, and a little disturbed at the feeling – after all, games have been a big part of my life. Why am I suddenly so averse to them?

I almost feel like the reason that Doctor Who sparked this is that it’s encouraging me to go out and explore on my own. I can’t explore other worlds and other times and meet new sentient species, but I can do so through the show. I can express my creativity and imagination through analytical writing in this blog, cosplay and writing fanfics, as well as through other channels not related to the show. I guess that I feel that I don’t want to simply consume someone else’s content; I want to at least extend it through me, or move beyond it. And it’s not something you can do with most games (Minecraft is one of the few exceptions).

I’m not sure where to go from here, what I want to explore or create. Maybe this month, since it’s NaNoWriMo, I’ll concentrate on this new story idea I have in mind. But mostly, I need to figure out what I want to do without losing this attitude. It would be nice to return to some gaming, but I want to continue expanding myself beyond my current borders.

Two news items

There are a couple of interesting Doctor Who news articles today. The first one nearly made me cry. The important part is this: Steven Moffat, the executive producer of Doctor Who, said that while filming the 50th anniversary special,

“By the end of it, Matt told me that he’d worked out this plan that they’d both continue in Doctor Who: do five individual episodes each and three together – would that be ok? It was a nice plan. I think if I’d said yes they’d have gone for it.”

Can you imagine that? The return of the Tenth Doctor for five episodes, five more episodes of the Eleventh Doctor, and then three episodes of both? A full season of the two fan favorites? AND HE CHOSE NOT TO DO IT?

I think my world is falling apart.

Ok, back to reality. The rest of the article is so endearing.  It’s nice to hear that Mr. Tennant and Mr. Smith got along so well, and that they were nervous about each other at first. I imagine that meeting each other is like meeting the guy who’s leaving the job you’re taking, who everyone loved and was brilliant at it, and you feel like there’s no way you could possibly live up to that.

The other article I came across is the Radio Times’ poll for Best Companion. I voted for Jackson Lake even though there are other companions I like more than him (though I think he’s fantastic) because I wanted him to have at least a few votes. I don’t know who might actually win this poll, but at the moment, the leader is Adric at 33% to Rose Tyler’s next highest spot at 16%.  In other words, Adric is beating Rose by double.

I am absolutely surprised by this. First, you have to realize that my husband has watched Doctor Who since Jon Pertwee was the Doctor, and he has always said that the #1 most hated companion was Adric. He likens Adric to Wesley Crusher: young know-it-all. I’ve only seen a few of Adric’s episodes (“Logopolis,” “Castrovalva”), and he was frankly rather irritating. I know that Adric does have the distinction of his death shaping the personality of the Fifth Doctor, but that’s hardly a trait you’d use to vote someone “Best Companion.”

So the question is, why Adric? The problem with polls is that you can’t answer that question. I guess I really need to step up my Fourth and Fifth Doctor viewing to figure this out.